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28Mar2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Eyes A Lower Opening, Crude Prices Edge Higher, Investors Await Fed Members Clues On Timing Of Next Rate Hike

Written by Gary

U.S. stock market future indexes pointed to a slightly lower open this morning, with the Dow ($DJI -0.2%) looking to continue an eight-day losing streak. The dollar has steadied and WTI crude prices edged higher (48.23).


Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed. The DAX is higher by 0.45%, while the CAC 40 is leading the FTSE 100 lower. They are down 0.13% and 0.01% respectively.

Fed fund futures priced in around a 45% chance of a rate hike in June, according to Investing.com's Fed Rate Monitor Tool. Odds of a September increase was seen at about 70%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Dollar steadies as markets look beyond Trump's policy stumble

LONDON (Reuters) - Stocks recovered while the dollar hovered above four-month lows on Tuesday as anxiety over Donald Trump's setback on healthcare reform gave way to tentative hopes for the U.S. president's planned stimulus policies.

Trump: Ford to announce investments in three Michigan plants

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump touted Ford Motor Co's expected announcement on Tuesday about investments and jobs at its U.S. plants, saying the automaker would make a major investment in three Michigan facilities.

Chinese tech giant Tencent takes 5 percent stake in Tesla

(Reuters) - Tesla Inc said on Tuesday that Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings Ltd has invested $1.78 billion in the electric carmaker for a 5 percent stake.

Exclusive: Citigroup to seek bids for Asia general insurance distribution deal - source

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc will seek bids from global insurers keen to sell general insurance products across the U.S. bank's Asia-Pacific markets, in a deal that could be worth at least $500 million, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Facebook adds camera features, moving closer to Snapchat

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is giving the camera a central place on its smartphone app for the first time, encouraging users to take more pictures and edit them with digital stickers that show the influence of camera-friendly rival Snapchat.

Amazon clinches deal to buy Middle East online retailer Souq.com

DUBAI (Reuters) - Amazon.com has agreed to buy Middle East online retailer Souq.com, thwarting a last-minute bid by Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar's Emaar Malls .

Akzo Nobel aims to soothe shareholders over PPG rejection

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Dutch paints maker Akzo Nobel said it will raise its financial targets and detail plans for its chemicals division next month, as it seeks to win over shareholders and avoid a takeover by U.S. rival PPG Industries .

Exclusive: China's HNA in talks to buy controlling stake in Forbes - sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Acquisitive Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is in talks to buy a controlling stake in the owner of the publisher of Forbes magazine, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

Uber to end services in Denmark after less than three years

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Ride-hailing group Uber Technologies [UBER.UL] will withdraw services in Denmark next month due to a taxi law that sets out new requirements for drivers such as mandatory fare meters, the company said on Tuesday.

Frontrunning: March 28



U.S. stock futures up as investors look beyond failed healthcare bill (Reuters)

Ryan's Tax Plan May Get Familiar Foes: GOP's Conservative Caucus (BBG)

Congress to Battle Over Spending After Failed Health Bill (WSJ)

Trump to End Obama Policies for Paris Climate Accord (BBG)

Trump to sign order sweeping away Obama-era climate policies (Reuters)

If Stocks Wobble, Will Bonds Be There To Absorb the Blow? (WSJ)

Nunes Meeting Prompts Call for Him to Step Aside From Probe (WSJ)

As Democratic attorneys general target Trump, Republican AGs target them (Reuters)

U.S. Says Gambler Made Clorox Trades After Calls With Icahn (BBG)

Despite Trump's Move on Climate Change, Firms to Still Shift Away From Coal (WSJ)

Manhattan Retail Landlords Offer Unprecedented Giveaways (

Dick Cheney: Russian Interference An "Act Of War"

Former US Vice President and the man whose image appears in the dictionary by the word "neocon", Dick Cheney criticized Russia's alleged interference in the U.S. presidential election, saying it could be considered an "act of war" against the U.S.

"There's no question there was a very serious effort made by Mr. Putin and his government, his organization, to interfere in major ways with our basic fundamental democratic processes," Cheney said Monday during a speech at the Economic Times' Global Business Summit 2017 in New Delhi, even though not only are there questions, the US still has to present any proof this actually happened.

Nonetheless, Cheney continued and said that "in some quarters, that would be considered an act of war. I think it's a kind of conduct and activity we will see going forward. We know he's attempted it previously in other states in the Baltics," Cheney said, according to the following video of his remarks.

Cheney's accusation comes at a time when both the Senate and House of Representatives intelligence committees are investigating possible Russian interference in the election that brought President Donald Trump to power.

"I actually think that their engagement was an act of war, an act of hybrid warfare, and I think that's why the American people should be concerned about it," Rep. Jackie Speier said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russian election interference last Monday, echoing Cheney's sentiment. Another consummate neocon, John McCain also said back in December that Russia's actions amounted to an act of war. Experts, however, have cautioned against making such accusations. The U.S. government does not currently have a definition of what actions in cyberspace would necessitate a military response.

Cheney on M ...

"Whenever Stocks Go Down, Everyone Still Goes Into 'The Sky Is Falling' Mode"

It was just yesterday morning, when futures were tumbling during the year's worst pre-market selloff in the aftermath of Friday's GOP failure to repeal Obamacare, that Bloomberg's Richard Breslow wrote "traders have lost confidence in their ability to interpret what's plainly market-moving news." He added that "far from hoping to be the first to trade, [traders] need someone else to commit and help create the narrative. No wonder so many funds are shuddering and then shuttering."

What a difference a day makes: with traders wondering on Monday morning if someone else would take the lead and BTD, the answer ended up being a resounding yes with the S&P wiping out a nearly 1% drop, to briefly trade in the green, as the VIX suffered one of its biggest intraday drops on record, the "narrative" was back and as SocGen's Kit Juckes noted overnight, "equity market participants have taken a look at the lower yields and weaker dollar and decided that since absurdly low rates are the elixir that the equity bull market lives on, they might as 'buy the dip' yet again."

And yet, as Breslow follows up in his latest daily letter, there appears to be a shift in sentiment. As the former FX trader notes, "don't let anyone try to tell you that stock-market pullbacks, including modest ones, are something investors and policy makers can now handle with aplomb. You can calculate financial-conditions indices with all sorts of back-fitted weightings but when stocks go down, everyone still goes into "The sky is falling" mode."

And therein lies the rub: whether it is central banks lifting offers, or risk-parity funds steppi ...

Rand Tumbles For Second Day After Zuma Says He'll Fire Gordhan

One day after the South African rand tumbled on the suprising report that president Zuma had ordered his finance minister Pravin Gordhan to cancel roadshow meetings with investors in the UK and US and return home on Monday, overnight the rand plunged for the second day in a row, after the 74 year old president told senior leaders of the South African Communist Party that he plans to fire Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The rand weakened as much as 2.9% and was at 12.8757 to the dollar after sliding as much as 3.2% a day earlier. The government's rand-denominated bonds due 2026 fell, driving the yield 42 basis points higher to 8.78% over the two days (hint for all you yield chasers).

According to Bloomberg, citing people present, Zuma told officials from the party, which is allied to his ruling African National Congress, during a meeting on Monday in Johannesburg. He didn't say when he planned to fire Gordhan.

Zuma said during the meeting with the communists he had taken the decision to remove the finance minister because he's the president with responsibility for leading the government and Gordhan is blocking him, according to the people. "There is a power struggle between the politics of patronage and politics of constitutionalism," Colin Coleman, a partner and head of Goldman Sachs Group in South Africa, said Tuesday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. "We may certainly see a very strong battle emerge in the days and in the months ahead.

On one hand, the report notes that on Monday a meeting of the top six leaders of the A ...

Time to Redo the Math on Tax Reform Prospects

Any investors who think the failure of health-care reform was somehow a positive because it cleared the way for tax reform may be about to be rapidly disabused of that notion.

If Stocks Wobble, Will Bonds Be There To Absorb the Blow?

Bonds normally provide a countervailing cushion when stocks fall. But a big bond rally faces challenges of its own.

AC Milan's Chinese Bidder Gets Capital Controls Assist

Getting in early on a surge in foreign-currency financed Chinese acquisitions such as soccer club AC Milan might be a smart move for hedge fund Elliott Management.

Market Extra: I drove myself crazy by investing $3 in the stock market

Turns out, it doesn't cost much to drive yourself insane over your investments.

The Wall Street Journal: Michigan will pay $87 million to replace Flint's water lines, as part of new settlement

The two sides have argued for months about how to fix the city's drinking water.

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The Senate voted to repeal protections put in place by the Obama administration.

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To contact me with questions, comments or constructive criticism is always encouraged and appreciated:

gary@econintersect.com

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